Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a GOP contender in the 2024 U.S. presidential race, arrived in Ukraine late this week, demonstrating a stark contrast to former President Donald Trump, the latter who has refrained from taking a stance against Russia in the war.
The trip comes two days after Kara Swisher posted a podcast with Christie, where the former governor revealed he had been questioned by Special Counsel Jack Smith in one of the election-related investigations into Trump.
During the interview, Christie defended Smith’s investigation as apolitical and said he “was honest” when answering the Special Counsel.
In Ukraine Friday, Christie told local officials in Moshchun that “there are hundreds of millions of people in our country who support you.” Trump, in contrast, contends that safeguarding Ukraine does not constitute a crucial national concern for the U.S., according to a New York Times report.
Escorted by Ukrainian security personnel, Christie toured war-stricken sites near Kyiv, including Bucha, a suburb where a Russian assault led to the deaths of more than 400 Ukrainians last April. Christie will also meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who Christie has praised.
“I am an advocate for there being more aid to Ukraine,” said Christie in his support for Ukraine defending their land.
Christie referred to Trump as a “puppet of Putin,” according to the publication.
Trump’s initial impeachment stemmed from a 2019 phone call to Zelenskyy when he urged the leader to investigate Biden in order to get U.S. support. And at a CNN town hall in May, Trump refused to choose sides between Russia and Ukraine, stating instead that he “wants everybody to stop dying,” according to the outlet.
Although lagging far behind Trump in polls, Christie’s Ukraine visit underscores his unique position on the war. The former governor advocates for swift aid delivery and supports Ukraine’s NATO membership.
Trump and other conservative critics including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed the support for Ukraine undercutting American interests. DeSantis called Ukraine a “territorial dispute” in one of his previous interviews with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
The war in Ukraine is likely to remain a hot topic during the lead-up to the Republican primaries next year and candidates will have to take a stance on whether they support President Joe Biden supplying billions of dollars in military and security assistance to Kyiv.
While most Americans still endorse U.S. assistance to Ukraine, this backing has gradually waned, primarily due to mounting Republican resistance. Polling conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that the proportion of Republicans claiming the U.S. offers excessive support to Ukraine has surged from 9% to 44% since Putin invaded its neighbor, according to the Times.
Christie maintain support not sending American troops to Ukraine while the Biden administration funds the country to defend itself from the Russian invasion.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in our country who would come here and see this and not think this is the kind of the things we need to stand up and prevent,” Christie said. “We need to give them the means necessary to fight.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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